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diabetes, blood, glucose

Diabetes: What you need to know

Written by: Kiara Lipschitz



Time to read 5 min

Keywords: diabetes, blood, glucose

Did you know that diabetes affects over 422 million people worldwide?

Let’s explore how diabetes is diagnosed and monitored, the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and the critical role of the diabetes biomarker HbA1c. We'll also shed light on the early signs and symptoms of diabetes, its impact on personal life, and strategies for living with this condition. 

1. Diabetes Diagnosis and Monitoring

Diabetes is diagnosed and monitored using several key metrics, including  fasting blood sugar tests , A1C levels , and blood pressure levels .

Fasting blood sugar tests measure blood sugar after an  overnight fast, providing a snapshot of glucose levels at a specific point in time.

A1C levels, on the other hand, provide a longer-term view, reflecting average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months .

Blood pressure levels are also monitored as hypertension can often accompany diabetes, posing additional health risks.

While these tests are instrumental in diagnosing and managing diabetes, they do have limitations.

For instance, fasting blood sugar tests may not accurately reflect glucose levels throughout the day, and A1C tests may not be as reliable in certain populations, such as those with anaemia or kidney disease. This is why these values are only taken into consideration together with a doctor’s opinion on your overall health and clinical history.

diabetes, blood, glucose

2. Recognising The Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

Early detection of diabetes can significantly improve the management and prognosis of the condition.

The first signs and symptoms of diabetes often include frequent urination, excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow-healing sores.

It's important to note that these symptoms may develop gradually for Type 2 diabetes, making them easy to overlook.

On the other hand, symptoms of Type 1 diabetes tend to appear quickly and be more severe.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's crucial to seek medical help promptly.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications, such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, and vision loss.

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3. Living with Diabetes: Coping and Management

Living with diabetes can be challenging, but with the right strategies, it's possible to manage the condition effectively and maintain a high quality of life.

One of the key aspects of diabetes management is regular monitoring of blood sugar levels.

This helps in making informed decisions about food, physical activity, and medication. 

Another crucial aspect is maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.

It's also important to manage  stress as it can affect blood sugar levels.

Connecting with others who have diabetes can provide emotional support and practical advice.

According to the NIH, joining a diabetes online community has proven to be beneficial .

Furthermore, regular check-ups with healthcare providers are essential to monitor the condition and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

diabetes, blood, glucose

4, The Role of HbA1c in Diabetes Management

Hemoglobin A1c  (HbA1c) is a crucial biomarker in diabetes management, serving as an indicator of average blood glucose levels over the past two to three months.

According to a study published in Translational Research, HbA1c can be considered a biomarker for the presence and severity of hyperglycemia , implying diabetes or prediabetes.

Furthermore, it can also act as a " biomarker for a risk factor, " indicating hyperglycemia as a risk factor for diabetic complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy, and other vascular complications.

Regular monitoring of HbA1c levels can thus help in the timely detection, prevention, and treatment of diabetes and its complications.

It's important to note that while HbA1c is a valuable tool in diabetes management, it's not a definitive measure, and other factors such as diet, exercise, and medication also play a significant role in controlling the disease. 

5. Can Diabetes Be Cured?

While there is currently no definitive cure for diabetes, various treatments can help manage the disease and even put it into remission.

Type 2 diabetes, often linked to obesity, can sometimes be reversed  through significant lifestyle changes, such as adopting a low-calorie diet, increasing physical activity, and losing weight.

A small number of studies have shown that bariatric surgery and therapeutic fasting can also help reverse type 2 diabetes .

However, these treatments are not widespread and require further research.

On the other hand, type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, cannot be cured. Some promising treatments, such as islet cell transplantation can improve the quality of life for type 1 diabetics, but these treatments are still in the experimental stages.

It's crucial to consult with healthcare professionals before making any significant changes to your treatment plan.

6. The Role of Sugar and Alcohol in Diabetes

Contrary to popular belief, consuming sugar  does not directly cause type 2 diabetes.

However, a diet high in added sugars can contribute to obesity, heart disease and stroke , a significant risk factor for the disease.

Drinks with high sugar content, like sodas, are associated with an increased risk of diabetes.

While sugar can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, it's only part of the overall picture.

As for alcohol, it can affect blood sugar levels  in people with diabetes. Alcohol can cause both low and high blood sugar, depending on the amount consumed and the type of diabetes medication being used.

It's important for individuals with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels closely when consuming alcohol. 

diabetes, blood, glucose

7. Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar?

Yes, exercise can indeed lower blood sugar levels .

Physical activity increases insulin sensitivity, which means your muscle cells can use any available insulin more effectively to absorb glucose.

This process helps lower blood glucose levels during and after activity.

Regular physical activity can also reduce your A1C , a measure of your average blood glucose levels over the past 2-3 months.

Monitoring your blood glucose levels before and after exercise can help you understand how your body responds to different activities and prevent your blood glucose from going too high or too low. 

8.Test for Diabetes Risk at Home with OptimallyMe

Concerned about your blood sugar and overall health? Wondering if you're pre-diabetic or how to manage your diabetes better?

The OptimallyMe Diabetes Test & Health Platform empowers you to take charge.

Here's how it works:

  • Uncover Your Risk: Our at-home test measures your HbA1c (hemoglobin A1c) levels, a key indicator of blood sugar control over the past 3 months.

  • Personalised Insights: Get clear, easy-to-understand results within 48 hours, delivered on a personalised AI-powered dashboard.

  • Actionable Data: Understand your risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes, and gain valuable insights for managing your condition.

  • Optimise Your Health: Make informed decisions about your diet and lifestyle to improve your overall well-being.

Why Choose OptimallyMe?

  • Early Detection: Catch pre-diabetes or diabetes early and take steps to prevent serious health complications.

  • Convenience: Test from the comfort of your home with a simple finger prick test.

  • Personalised Guidance: Receive personalised insights and ongoing support to manage your health.

  • Proactive Approach: Take control of your health and optimise your well-being for the long term.

Don't wait! Knowing your blood sugar levels is crucial for making informed decisions about your diet, weight management, and overall health.

Order your  OptimallyMe Diabetes Test  today and take the first step towards a healthier future! 

diabetes, blood, glucose

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